Much of the reaction to Fox News’s blurring of breasts in Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Algers (version O) has missed the mark. Fox’s audience is disproportionately older and lower on the economic ladder than the country as a whole. For hundreds of years, the popular imagination about the rich and powerful has concocted a narrative where extreme wealth and power results in a closs of bored sexual deviants. See the novel, play and movie versions of Les Liaison Dangereuse.
Whatever one thinks of Fox and its guiding light, Roger Ailes, the network is a good barometer of popular sentiment. By blurring the image, Fox suggests the painting is more licentious than it is, thus reinforcing the idea that the rich are louche and irresponsible.